Looking for a little something to fill the void left after the conclusion of the Rio Olympics? Well, with The Great British Bake Off due to return to our screens at the end of August, we thought we’d tickle your taste buds with a selection of showstopping cakes from around the globe.
Reach for that apron and get ready for tempting toppings, golden crusts and fruity fillings – and no, not a soggy bottom in sight.
1. Galette Des Rois
First off, the Galette Des Rois from France. Made from strips of puff pastry wrapped around an almond paste centre, this melt in the mouth treat is traditionally served just after New Year, on the Epiphany (the day the Three Kings visited the baby Jesus in his manger). Buttery and delicious, it’s certainly fit for a king.
Hailing from Greece and Turkey – and a close cousin of the Egyptian basbousa – is Revani, a sponge cake made from semolina flour sweetened with orange flavoured syrup. Customarily served at weddings, it’s especially toothsome when accompanied with a dollop of whipped cream.
3. Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte
And now to a showstopper from Germany … Known as the Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte in its home tongue, the Black Forest cherry cake (or Black Forest gateau) boasts layers of chocolate sponge generously padded with whipped cream and maraschino cherries. The sponge should be soaked in Kirschwasser, a German cherry-based liqueur, for an authentic flavour guaranteed to get Mary Berry smiling.
To Japan now for Mochi, a cake formed from sweet, mushy rice which is pounded into a paste and allowed to dry, after which it can be grilled, fried or boiled. As tasty with soups as it is with yoghurt, ice cream or cereal, this Far Eastern nibble gets top marks for versatility.
Both New Zealand and Australia lay claim to having invented the Pavlova. Created in tribute to the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, this meringue can come in a range of toppings, from summer fruits on a bed of cream to Bake Off judge Mary Berry’s own lemon and chocolate recipe. However, it should always be as light and airy as its namesake.
The Mawa cake is becoming hard to come by in Mumbai because the traditional Irani cafes which used to feature this milky snack on their menus are dying out in the wake of modern fast food outlets. Infused with a hint of cardamom, this subtly aromatic Indian cupcake is best enjoyed with a refreshing cup of tea.
7. Dundee cake
Let’s hand out a star baker accolade to Keiller’s, the 19th-century marmalade company who first popularised Scotland’s Dundee cake a Christmas favourite, this fruitcake should include a nip of malt whisky to give it that distinctive moist and flavoursome quality.
Finally, we’ll finish with a signature bake from Milan … Associated with Christmas and New Year, panettone is a sweet bread liberally mixed with candied fruit, vanilla and lemon zest which is then shaped into tall loafs with a domed upper crust. Try it toasted and buttered, or with a dessert wine.
So, on your marks, get set, bake!